By Anish Vishwakoti, Prowrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
Join John Moore for live coverage of NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 4 on Saturday beginning with the pre-show notes at 5CT/6ET. Jason Powell will be by after the show with his members’ exclusive audio review.
This is the fourth NXT Takeover event to emanate from Brooklyn, New York, and this feels like it may be NXT’s biggest event of the year. We have a promising card ahead of us for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 4.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano in a Last Man Standing match for the NXT Championship: Undoubtedly one of the most compelling rivalries of the past few years in WWE or indeed all of wrestling, the fourth singles match between Ciampa and Garganno will be for the NXT Championship. Of course, this is only the third match since Ciampa turned on his former DIY teammate, so it does feel like the rubber match between the two heated rivals.
Ciampa vs. Gargano is a prime example of how long-term storytelling in wrestling is feasible and can certainly pay off. Ciampa’s shock title win against Aleister Black has ignited this match and given it the stakes that a rubber match between the two needs. While the originally slated Triple Threat that included Black was also an interesting way to pose things, having Black attacked and taken out gives Gargano and Ciampa room to breathe, possibly saving Black’s personal feuds with the two for down the line. The addition of the Last Man Standing gimmick also means that no one will be pinned and that both men could win through dastardly deeds or tricks of some sort.
Considering that this is NXT’s WrestleMania of sorts, and that WWE does like to send the crowd home happy at events like this, it may seem a layup to have Gargano overcome his villain and take the biggest prize in NXT while doing so. However, this isn’t Vince McMahon’s NXT, it’s Triple H’s from a creative standpoint. Considering NXT Takeovers don’t always have happy endings (i.e. Ciampa turning heel, Ciampa beating Gargano, and Adam Cole attacking Drew Galloway,) I wouldn’t discard the idea of Ciampa winning.
This rivalry between the two is storytelling gold for NXT, and I feel that WWE will not be quick to wrap it up. And as much as NXT isn’t afraid to end shows without happy endings, they certainly won’t want to let this feud conclude without Gargano coming out on top. Therefore, that leads me to believe that at Takeover Brooklyn by hook or by crook, Ciampa will keep Gargano down for the ten count and the feud will continue.
Tommaso Ciampa retains the NXT Championship.
Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane for the NXT Women’s Championship: A rematch of the finals from the first ever Mae Young Classic, Kairi Sane gets her first singles shot at the NXT Women’s Championship, and she must beat the dominant champion Baszler to take it. Baszler has been a strong heel champion for NXT. She hasn’t failed to put on compelling matches thanks in part to how detestable her antics are. She isn’t a simple monster heel either, as she uses a combination of brute force and villainous cunning to get to her opponents. On the other hand, Sane has been built as a lovable and fiery babyface gunning for the top prize.
This story could be seen as simple, but the added element that Sane has defeated Baszler before makes it interesting to watch. Baszler has by no means been portrayed as an unbeatable force during her title run, but she has done a great job of making herself seem like she is, and this makes for a clear story. Overall, I feel that NXT could benefit even more from having a strong heel champion. While the fans would embrace a Kairi Sane title win, she would actually benefit from coming oh so close in Brooklyn before finally getting the prize at a later date. For now, I believe that Baszler will win, probably via making Sane pass out rather than by a definitive pin or submission, keeping Sane looking as tough as possible for now.
Shayna Baszler retains the NXT Women’s Championship.
Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong vs. “Moustache Mountain” Tyler Bate and Trent Seven for the NXT Tag Team Championship: After having a brilliant championship match and two-day rivalry at the second WWE UK tournament, we saw the Undisputed Era lose the NXT Tag Titles to Moustache Mountain on their home soil. The pop in England was uproarious and the sequel match that they had at Full Sail in which the Undisputed Era won back the titles was equally entertaining.
The underlying story of Bate throwing in the towel to protect his partner’s injured leg also added a great twist to the match and to the ongoing story. There’s no doubt these two teams will put on a great show, and the story they have built over the past weeks on NXT television has been some of WWE’s best programming. Considering how captivating the angle between Ciampa and Gargano has been, I feel that WWE are going to break apart another team to get similar results. I don’t think Bate will throw in the towel to save his partner again, but I do believe he will hesitate to let Seven continue, ultimately costing Moustache Mountain the match. I think this will also lead to Seven turning on Bate and beating the living daylights out of him, giving WWE another hot singles feud moving forwards.
Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong retain plus Trent Seven turns on Tyler Bate
Velveteen Dream vs. EC3: Velveteen Dream and EC3 have been oddly entertaining over the last month or so on NXT programming. Another rivalry that kicked off during the WWE UK Tournament, EC3’s eccentricity and Dream’s flamboyance makes for a great character-based feud. There’s once again no doubt that these two can put on a great match as well, so I highly look forward to it. NXT could feasibly shoot out five matches that all contend for match of the night, and I believe that Dream vs. EC3 will be the most unique of the bunch. Velveteen Dream hasn’t had the best of luck in NXT Takeover matches having lost to Ricochet, Aleister Black, and coming up short in the ladder match. Thus, I think that WWE will be looking to give Dream some momentum. EC3 and Dream can both take a loss to be honest given how charismatic they both are, but in the bigger picture it would do Dream more good to have a win at this point, so I’m going with him.
Velveteen Dream wins.
Adam Cole vs. Ricochet for the NXT North American Championship: The build toward this championship match has been straightforward and effective. The Undisputed Era have been plaguing Ricochet with their heel tactics so Ricochet calls Cole a coward. Cole takes exception to that and increases his use of heel tactics. The North American Title being on the line makes this all the more sweet, as this indie dream match between Prince Puma and Adam Cole comes to fruition in a WWE ring for a title belt. I expect a great show from these two and considering that I have heels winning all the other matches, I feel that Ricochet will take this one and prompt Cole to angrily up his heel tactics even more in the weeks to come.
Ricochet wins the NXT North American Championship.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Vice TV's "Dark Side of the Ring" executive producers Evan Husney and Jason Eisner discussing the March 24 second season premiere focusing on the Benoit family tragedy, plus their pro wrestling fandom, the show's name and origins, highlights of season two, Chris Jericho becoming the narrator, and much more...